Archive for darkness

Sparzanza – Circle

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 20th September 2014 by Pieni

Sparzanza
“Circle”
Heavy rock
To be released on 26th September 2014
Via Spinefarm Records / Black Cult Records

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Sparzanza are back. Well, have been back since March, when this 7th album of theirs, “Circle”, was released in the Northern countries. Now the stores in the rest of the world will have the pleasure of delivering it as well.

They’ve been gradually hardening their sound in the last albums, so seeing them pushing the envelope and releasing their heaviest album so far, that wasn’t a real surprise to me. Yet “Circle” has Sparzanza’s typical dark groove embroidered all over it.

Right from the start you get that impression with the opening track “Pine Barrens”. Heavier riffs, sharper beats, faster rhythm, rougher vocals… and then the chorus comes out in such a dark melody – not melancholic but rather ominous, menacing. After all, they’re singing about the “devil being back every century”

With all that but featuring a more easy-going melody comes the next track “Underneath My Skin”, which was the rightful choice for first single, precisely due to the melodic part – it gives a more accurate idea of the album as a whole, which I believe is the main goal of a promotional single. “Black” would have been great for that purpose as well, its stronger bass making it somewhat heavier and the “church choir” hinting some spiritual sense to the melody.

As for speedy songs, I must mention “Death Don’t Spare No Lives”. A very lively but groovy song, meaning the rhythm will hit your eardrums and embrace it at the same time.

“Breathe” could have been featured in the soundtrack of a thriller, as the words I find to describe it are the same – exciting and suspenseful. And taking “suspenseful” as cue, let me tell you about the second single “Into The Unknown”. Now this is quite a piece of melancholic darkness! The double tracking of Fredrik Weileby voice, in a grave pitch and a higher one, is one of my favorite details, giving such richness to the sound. Especially when it’s not a through and through event, it only happens in some carefully chosen parts, enhancing the beauty of this song.

The sadness in “As I Go Away” is a lot stronger, though, the piano and strings making sure to produce a melody as heartbroken as Weileby’s voice. Powerful ballad, this one.

“A circle is not something that has one specific meaning – it has several, so let the interpretation of this be in the eyes of the beholder”, say Sparzanza regarding the title of this album. Well I choose the meaning of “completion” as this is what “Circle” is – a successful achievement by this great band.

5/5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

 

 

 

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Deathstars – The Perfect Cult

Posted in CD, Industrial, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 13th June 2014 by Pieni

Deathstars
“The Perfect Cult”
Industrial goth
Released on 13th June 2014
Via Nuclear Blast

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Deathstars have always had a dark sound and image, but in the five years that have passed since their last studio album, that darkness seems to have grown thicker. No, I’m not saying you’ll feel like you’re attending a funeral or visiting the depressive ward of a mental institution – by the contrary. But while “Synthetic Generation” and “Termination Bliss” sparkled defiantly, their sharp beats and aggressive licks an invitation to rebel, Deathstars started to soften the edges in “Night Electric Night” and the process eventually lead to a classy glowing seduction with “The Perfect Cult”. It’s more mature, more sober, aiming to enthrall you rather than blasting you. And at the same time, it’s a darkness that’s pretty much alive. I guess this definition could light up a “gothic rock” neon sign in your minds, but that’s not the case either. This is something else. This is… well, it’s Deathstars. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard people saying they’re like a mix of this and that, but I still think they’re quite unique.

On the official trailer of the album you hear Nightmare Industries claiming that the guitars “have never sounded so heavy”. Well that’s no salesman talk and there’s really no other way to say it – they’re the heaviest so far. Which doesn’t mean its nature has changed; one still recognizes Nightmare’s watermark, but in a more intense outcome. There’s even a solo in “Temple Of The Insects”! How about that?

Skinny Disco’s bass has also become more solid, making all the difference in songs such as the first single “All The Devil’s Toys” or the title-track.

Whiplasher Bernadotte’s vocal style is probably the one thing that remains unchanged – the deep, strong pitch against the raspy whispers here and there. What did change though was the increased number of overlapped and backing vocals in the choruses, creating an effect of grandeur. Like “Explode”. Or “Ghost Reviver”. Or even “Noise Cuts”. Hell, all of them!

On the aforementioned trailer, Nightmare also said that this was the first album recorded with live drums. I confess I didn’t notice any difference, meaning that Vice is that good. Although there’s something on the drums of “Asphalt Wings” that sounds more… human.

Last but not least, the wider range of synths, from the creepy and cold patterns of “Bodies” to the eighties’ vibe in “Fire Galore”, going through the sneaky keys of “Track, Crush & Prevail”, there’s all kinds of electronic flavors here.

Personally, I would’ve preferred if they had stuck with the spunky nature. But at the same time, I’m the one who’s always encouraging bands to risk a change so they won’t repeat themselves. Plus, by the third time I was listening to “The Perfect Cult”, the new not-so-edgy sound had started to grow on me and I just had to admit its greatness.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino